2002, Khartoum/Nairobi --A barge loaded with fishing
gear is currently steaming its way along the Sobat River towards
the suffering population in southern Sudan.
Following a ceasefire agreement reached in Kenya last
month between the government of Sudan and the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), the UN and
other humanitarian organizations have been able to reach
previously inaccessible war-torn areas.
"For the first time in several years, FAO is
now entering these areas and will be able to reach 58 000
people, among the most vulnerable in southern Sudan,"
said Marc Bellemans, FAO's Emergency Coordinator in
The barge set off from Malakal
in the Upper Nile Province on 4 December. On its way to Nasir
close to the Ethiopian border, it will unload fishing gear,
including nets, ropes and hooks along with seeds and tools for
27 villages. The barge is jointly used by FAO and the World Food
For many years, this war-torn
part of southern Sudan has been very unsafe. Now the region has
become a priority for emergency interventions for the UN and
other humanitarian organizations.
High rates of malnutrition
In government-controlled areas of southern
Sudan, such as the area along the Sobat river, average
malnutrition rates are around 20 percent.
"We estimate that around 10 percent of the
families along this stretch of the river will receive fishing
gear. This will help them to improve their food situation and
should contribute to reducing malnutrition. It will also make
them less dependant on food aid", Bellemans said.
Southern Sudan, with its wetlands and
rivers, has important natural fish resources. Subsistence
fishing contributes significantly to improving food supply.
Malnutrition rates decreased overall where fishing equipment has
been distributed, FAO said.
barge has completed its journey by the end of December, FAO will
have distributed 90 000 hooks, 3 500 nylon fishing coils, 155
ropes, tools and around 500 kg of vegetable seeds for around 7
000 families. Community animal health workers will receive
Canada, Japan and Sweden
have provided support for the project.
For 2003, FAO has launched a $19 million aid appeal
for Sudan to assist the most vulnerable people to produce their
own food. No pledges have been made so far, the UN agency said.
Emergency Coordinator Khartoum/Sudan
(+249) 11 787 569
Communication Officer, Kenya
(+254) 2 272 91
60 / 272 51 28